Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday Roundup

Happy Tuesday, all!  We'll kick off today's roundup with a little international flavor...

The European Union's budget chief, Janusz Lewandowski, has started a bit of a firestorm over comments in preparation for a review of farm subsidies in the EU.  In addition to seeking cuts, he wants to reduce or eliminate rebates to nations that don't receive as much subsidy allocation, such as Britain.  Countries in a united economic bloc, with different geographies and different labor markets, trying to figure out how to agree on agricultural subsidies?  Pass me the popcorn, because this stands to get interesting. 

Flooding that has destroyed this year's crops in Pakistan stands to do the same to next year's wheat crop as well.  According to the AP (via MSNBC), some areas are still underwater, and even if the floods hadn't taken away or destroyed the seed for next year, the ground wouldn't be ready for the fast-approaching Pakistani planting season.  Yes, that's even more troubles for the international wheat market.

Back on US soil, estimates on the corn crop are still uncertain, according to AgriNews online, which, coupled with high demand, are causing some unsteadiness in the prices of the commodity.  In the meantime, with the recent egg recalls, egg farms in Connecticut are experiencing increased interest in folks looking to buy their eggs.  Sure, there is a "local food" aspect to this, as the Fairfield Patch notes, but it seems pretty cut-and-dried to me: A reduction in supply, no matter how it's achieved, is going to result in better prices on the remaining supply, provided demand remains the same.  The story mentions increased demand, of course, but it's not the demand that's increasing - it's just moving to a new supply.

Finally, Indiana Biofuels has an interesting video describing the process by which ethanol fuel is made.  It's entertaining AND informative!  (Also, it kind of makes me want to get back to home-brewing beer, for some reason.)

Have a great day, everyone!


  1. As an Indianan, I have been a little leary with our state seemingly putting all our eggs in one basket when it comes to biofuels. I agree that biofuels can help remedy our nation's addiction to oil, however, I think it was just a temporary fix that we rushed to in hopes to alleviate our dependence on foreign oil. Like any addiction, we will keep coming back to our old ways. There are E-85 gas stations in various strategic locations in Indiana. I love that they are a cleaner fuel, however, we are Americans. It is somewhat common knowledge that you won't get as good of gas mileage running your car with ethanol. Which translates more money at the pump. Even when gas was over $4/gal, ethanol didn't catch on widespread. I am eagerly waiting for some engineering genius to figure out a way modify the car engine as we know it so we can use biofuels more efficiently. Otherwise, I really don't see biofuels becoming any bigger than what they are now.

  2. The problem with purely-ethanol cars, same was with natural gas or electric cars, I think, is not that it's an impossible solution, just that there's no infrastructure for it. We have dead-dinosaur stations everywhere, selling three kinds of gasoline and sometimes diesel. Adding E85 pumps is the first step, but changing them all to a fuel that no one uses isn't going to make them any money at all, let alone enough to pay for the changes.

    I don't think government mandates are the answer to pushing the change, but I'd be hard-pressed to figure out what would be.